A Bewitching Reflection on the Season

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Beth Schreibman-Gehring, Chairman of Education for The Western Reserve Herb Society unit of The Herb Society of America

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Will you follow me? Yes, I know that the woods are dark, but isn’t the smell intoxicating this time of year? The leaves are wet and seductively sour, sweet ripe apples are still hanging on the cool bare branches and the musky scent of deer lingers all around us in the still night forest.

The winds are stirring tonight and if you listen carefully they will tell you anything that you need to know. Take a deep breath, notice the smells that come to you. Yes, we are in the deep woods and there are the familiar sounds of animals curling in the brush and the musky, sweet smells of wet leaves, mushrooms and windfall apples.  An owl flies past, wings strong and silent and suddenly the shriek of its prey breaks…

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All Hallow’s Eve

Good Witches Homestead

Halloween.
Sly does it. Tiptoe catspaws. Slide and creep.
But why? What for? How? Who? When! Where did it all begin?
“You don’t know, do you?” asks Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud climbing out of the pile of leaves under the Halloween Tree. “You don’t really know!”
– Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree

Samhain. All Hallows. All Hallow’s Eve. Hallow E’en. Halloween. The most magical night of the year. Exactly opposite Beltane on the wheel of the year, Halloween is Beltane’s dark twin. A night of glowing jack-o’-lanterns, bobbing for apples, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume. A night of ghost stories and seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest. A “spirit night”, as they say in Wales.

All Hallow’s Eve is the eve of All Hallow’s Day (November 1). And for…

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BE A HERBALIST THIS FALL

Autumn is the time to ground down and return to our inward selves.  After the ethereal light and abundant days of summer, we start to prepare for the darker days ahead.  It’s the best time of year to set intentions, get quiet, create and manifest dreams, and to re-commit to healthy habits--the simple things that … Continue reading BE A HERBALIST THIS FALL

Queen Of Air And Darkness

Good Witches Homestead

The early Celts savoured the dark side of life. They embraced war like a lover, plunging into battle naked, singing gloriously boastful songs. They were fearless in the face of death, which their belief in reincarnation taught them was ‘…but the centre of a long life.’ It was not uncommon for a man to lend money and agree on repayment in a future lifetime. Their day began at dusk; the new year at Samhain, the festival we know as Halloween. Darkness was associated with new beginnings, the potential of the seed below the ground. In Celtic mythology and folklore, the wisdom of darkness is often expressed by powerful goddess figures. Whether in the natural, cultural or individual context, their role is to catalyse change through the transformative power of darkness, to lead through death into new life. A Dark Goddess of nature, particularly in Scotland, is the Cailleach, a name…

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2018 Crone Moon: Ritual in a Jar And Creating Sacred Space — Spirit de la Lune

  Venus is still retrograde in Scorpio and is opposite this Full Moon in Taurus. Taurus holds the energy of new growth and life- while Scorpio holds the energy of darkness and death. This means there may be some changes and shifts going on in our relationships, and Scorpio means the transformation may feel chaotic. … Continue reading 2018 Crone Moon: Ritual in a Jar And Creating Sacred Space — Spirit de la Lune

Taurus Full Moon, Releasing, Earthing, Trusting

Full Moon in Taurus: Wednesday, October 24th at 9:45 am PST (12:45 pm EST) Today I want to you pay attention to how you are feeling around 9:45 pm PST. 60 hours prior to the Full Moon we may notice her energy pulling on us in ways that help us to see what needs to be released. Even if … Continue reading Taurus Full Moon, Releasing, Earthing, Trusting

Our Winter goddess and the calm in the storm

Beltane Fire Society

Samhuinn Fire Festival is sometimes seen as a battle between two seasons, but there is a key third aspect of our story that leads the ritual turn from Summer to Winter. We sat down with Kate, who this year will embody the mysterious Cailleach, to learn more about her interpretation of the Crone goddess.

Photo of Kate as a Blue. Copyright Vince Graham for Beltane Fire Society. All Rights Reserved. http://www.beltane.org / http://www.facebook.com/beltanefiresociety

First a bit of background. The Cailleach traditionally manifests as an old woman, part of the triple goddess who changes as the seasons turn. At Beltane Fire Festival She emerges as the May Queen, goddess of the Summer when new plants and animals flourish. In Winter She is older, a Winter goddess associated with the formation of the landscape and fierce storms that batter the land, and She plays a pivotal role in maintaining the balance…

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Samhuinn Fire Festival 2018 – Beltane Fire Society

The Moncai are the gods of death who exist in both Summer and Winter, embracing the light and the dark at the same time. At Samhuinn Fire Festival, they will explore the mutual forces of the seasons, encouraging us not to fear Winter but to regard it as part of a natural cycle. The Valravn are … Continue reading Samhuinn Fire Festival 2018 – Beltane Fire Society

Celebrating Samhain

Good Witches Homestead

As October turns to November, thousands of Witches, Wiccans, Druids, and other Pagans in America, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere observe the sacred time of Samhain. Samhain is a festival of the Dead. Meaning “Summer’s End” and pronounced saah-win or saa-ween, Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the coldest half of the year. For many practitioners, myself included, Samhain also is the beginning of the spiritual new year.

Originating in ancient Europe as a Celtic Fire festival, Samhain is now celebrated worldwide. The timing of contemporary Samhain celebrations varies according to spiritual tradition and geography. Many of us celebrate Samhain over the course of several days and nights, and these extended observances usually include a series of solo rites as well as ceremonies, feasts, and gatherings with family, friends, and spiritual community. In the northern hemisphere, many Pagans celebrate Samhain from sundown…

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You Call It Hallowe’en… We Call It Samhain

Good Witches Homestead

Hallowe’en has its origins in the British Isles. While the modern tradition of trick or treat developed in the U. S., it too is based on folk customs brought to this country with Irish immigrants after 1840. Since ancient times in Ireland, Scotland, and England, October 31st has been celebrated as a feast for the dead, and also the day that marks the new year. Mexico observes a Day of the Dead on this day, as do other world cultures. In Scotland, the Gaelic word “Samhain” (pronounced “SAW-win” or “SAW-vane”) means literally “summer’s end.”

This holiday is also known as All Hallows Eve (“hallow” means “sanctify”) ; Hallowtide; Hallowmass; Hallows; The Day of the Dead; All Soul’s Night; All Saints’ Day (both on November 1st) .

For early Europeans, this time of the year marked the beginning of the cold, lean months to come; the flocks were brought in from…

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